Building things

I have come to experience that there are even more blessings to be gained from mechanic’s school than just using the skills I learn here to fix and maintain airplanes. This summer I got inspired to build a fancy thing for my kitchen where I could store some pots and pans conveniently and out of the way. I made a little step-by-step manual here how you can build it too for minimal expense.

I got my initial design idea from a wish-list that a couple posted that they wanted for their wedding. I thought I might build this for them, but the work got delayed and I didn’t get it done even nearly in time, but since I had started already I thought I would go through with the idea.

The fists step in the process was to gather resources. Living in a town where recycling does not seem to be part of many people’s lives comes with certain advantages. People dump their junk here and there which in my general opinion is disgraceful, but comes in handy sometimes. I collected the chains from a shed of my landlord. Apparently they didn’t want it so I figured I could make it come to great use. The metal circles were found in our back yard. They were originally from some old wooden bucket that was in many pieces, but I came up with another use for them. The grate was the most difficult to get hold of. Anything that was rigid, with a certain width and strength would have done the job for my purpose but this was the only one I found. Someone had dumped it in the river only some hundred yards from where I live and I spotted it from a bridge one day. I came back and fished it out of the freezing cold water and carried it home. All the parts were now gathered.

I first decided to try to clean all the gunk off the nasty grate first with bleach but that did not work well. I then tried burning the dirt off with a blow-torch and bash it with a hammer, but I needed something more refined than that. After so many wasted attempts and time spent for almost no result I decided to bathe the hole thing in vinegar. Unfortunately the bath that I had was only big enough for the rings, but after a week long bath the rust came off with a cloth of those parts at least. Yay, progress!

Then I had the idea that if I cut the grate to smaller pieces I could fit them in the bath. With new optimism I took the piece of scrap metal to the welding lab at school and cut two pieces off into conveniently sized pieces.

While at the mechanics shop I thought it may be a good idea to sandblast the parts and make them clean that way. Now when the pieces were so small they actually fit into the machine. The sand blaster did a great job to clean off the parts.

After the vinegar immersion the rings actually started rusting again because rust residue got stuck in the pits that the corrosion caused. The cloth could not quite do the job good enough so I took the rings to the sand blaster as well. If I only had done this straight away…

Now the pieces were all clean from the severe corrosion they had suffered from and could now be welded together. It was a little tricky to overcome the spring tension of the ring while trying to weld it into submission, but it turned out quite well.

The next step was not hard. I just cut the chain into equally long pieces and made small pins out of welding rod that would secure the chains to the grate pieces.

Then I took some steel round stock and bent them around some thicker pipe. They made very good S-hooks for hanging stuff in.

After searching the garage for some screws and buying a couple washers, the entire contraption was screwed into the ceiling beam in the kitchen. Now the pots and pans are hanging in the air with very convenient access for the one cooking and some more space on the shelves.

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